Commentary

Are out-of-home TVs taking over?

Recently there has been a lot of hype in blogs and news stories about out-of-home screens as the next best marketing tool.

I’m not sold.

Now, television screens showing news are always appreciated. I absolutely love the TV screens in our university’s Atrium, because despite the fact that I’m usually running through the area, I can always check to see if there’s a national emergency. I also have to watch TV in the gym, because otherwise I wouldn’t stay there very long.

Traveling in and around London last summer brought me face to face with the very handy and attractive BBC news screens on the trains as well. As a new arrival in the city, current events, weather reports and highlighted attractions were much appreciated.

A few weeks ago, however, I noticed the blaring television screen installed above my gas station pump in Chicago – something we do not have in our college town, and something which was entirely ineffective as I was in Chicago and the last thing I wanted to do was stand outside in the freezing cold.

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In my opinion, this is the central problem with touting out-of-home TVs as the next best thing – life just gets in the way. I do look at TVs when I’m running around doing my daily errands but I’m inevitably concentrating on what I’m doing and not on what I’m watching. This goes for TVs in restaurants, doctor’s offices, and the mall among others. I know the TVs are there, but I don’t remember what was on them. That's why this marketing tool is not as effective as some believe it to be.

3 comments about "Are out-of-home TVs taking over?".
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  1. Stephen Ghigliotty, January 21, 2008 at 12:46 p.m.

    The digital out of home industry deserves the hype because it signals a new way of reaching consumers at the point of sale. Much of the confusion in this new market is the assumption that it is "TV", which it clearly is not.

    Connected screen networks allow marketers to message to consumers in much more fluid and rapid way, as opposed to direct mail and broadcast television.

    Forget about using TV as a comparative media... that's the first step to understanding why there is so much hype.

  2. David Jaeger from Global SEM Partners, January 21, 2008 at 4:32 p.m.

    It does really depend on the venue. I plan on testing some of them some of these days, as they are in some really great places.

    1) Coffee stores - average income of $60k + probably.
    2) Car Wash Places - again an average income of over $70k... and those people are a captive audience, they are sitting there for an hour!
    3) Gyms - another place where the average income is high, people are spending a protracted amount of time, and are "captive to the screen".

    C'mon, out-of-house tv not as effective?

    The CPM also don't have to be as much. They run news snippets, and don't need to support the TV show with the profit. So it's almost all residual revenue off of one screen.

    Yes, the gas station one is stupid... and will probably cause people to zone out screens, which is kind of sad. But bottom line, there are alot of places that the placement is brilliant. I'd happily sink $10k into that than into a TV commercial, where all of the audience numbers for CPM's don't include the number of people that aren't fully engaged.

  3. Michelle, January 29, 2008 at 8:57 a.m.

    The gym is DEFINITELY a place where out-of-home TV is imperative. Gym-goers are desperate for something to distract them from the torturous boredom of running on the treadmill/elliptical/stair machine. I, personally, will engage with ANYTHING to forget the cramp in my side or the fact that I'm getting winded. Now that you mention it, I can't fathom spending 30 minutes on the elliptical without something, anything, to watch.

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